WHO publishes first-ever global guidelines for mental health in the workplace

17 October 2022
Nikitha Warriar Written by Nikitha Warriar
Nikitha Warriar

Nikitha Warriar

Nikitha Warriar writes a lot on healthcare and wellness. She is also one of LifeWordsmith’s...

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Each year, depression and anxiety cost the global economy around $1 trillion because of reduced productivity. While interest and investment has grown for workplace mental health, there are no effective approaches in sight. Moreover, people with severe mental health conditions are still largely excluded from work.

To help employers create an informed workplace mental health strategy, the World Health Organization (WHO), with Wellcome’s funding, has published its first evidence-based guidelines on mental health at work. It aims to promote mental health, prevent work-related mental health issues, and aid those with mental health conditions to thrive in work.

Research shows that 78% of employees trust their employers and WHO aims to promote strong mental health support at the workplace with these guidelines.

The recommendations include organizational and individual interventions, training for managers, guidance for people returning to work, and so on. The training is to help employers and managers respond appropriately to employees’ emotional distress at work, develop interpersonal skills, and learn to adjust job stressors for their teams. 

WHO, along with the International Labour Organization (ILO) has also developed an actionable policy brief to help organizations implement the WHO guidelines by outlining practical strategies for better participation and provision of support. 

“The well-being of the individual is reason enough to act, but poor mental health can also have a debilitating impact on a person’s performance and productivity. These new guidelines can help prevent negative work situations and cultures and offer much-needed mental health protection and support for working people,” explains Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO in this media release.

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